“L’s bitchin’ boursin” is the secret ingredient in this BLT. (KATHY D’AGOSTINO PHOTO)
Once again, the humidity has descended upon us here in Maine. I thought for sure that it would be a short-lived heat wave, but I was wrong. As I listen to my air conditioner sputtering in the background, I contemplate what to make for supper. I can feel my energy level dwindling as I listen to the weather report on TV. The last thing I feel like doing is preparing something hot in the kitchen during a heat wave.
The timing was perfect for this recipe from Elyse Dana, who owns and runs the cafe Iris Eats, here in Harpswell at Safe Harbor Great Island marina.
Elyse grew up in Harpswell and, after high school graduation, embarked on an adventure that included some time in Italy and a position as a stewardess on a yacht. During her time on the yacht, she was asked to make dinner one night. The rest is history.
She spent most of the next 10 years on yachts as a gourmet chef, then she returned to her roots in Maine and Iris Eats was born. Take out or dine in, one thing is clear: Detail is the key with Elyse. The ingredients she uses are local and top-quality. Her sandwiches are beautiful and assembled with the perfection of a fine artist. Her baked goods are over-the-top delicious.
This place offers comfort food at its best, with a gourmet twist. Is it any wonder that I welcomed her recipe for boursin cheese to put on the sandwiches I made for supper on a hot summer night?
Elyse uses her recipe as a spread on some of her sandwiches — in particular her breakfast sandwich “The Winslow,” which consists of sliced and lightly toasted (or buttered and lightly grilled) sourdough bread, sausage patties, freshly sliced tomato, fried egg, and microgreens, finishing up with her boursin cheese spread.
For my sandwiches, I took into consideration that it’s fresh heirloom tomato season here in Maine.
I lightly buttered, then grilled, sourdough bread slices, and used bacon, fresh-sliced tomato, baby lettuces and Elyse’s spread.
With fresh vegetables so readily available this time of year, this recipe pairs well with them as well as with a freshly sliced baguette or crackers. It’s a great way to use any leftover spread you made.
When the weather cools, it can also be used as an addition to macaroni and cheese or smoked salmon, or stuffed in chicken breast and then baked. Recipes are plentiful, or you can use your imagination.
For me, a delicious supper was made without standing by a hot stove on an oppressively hot summer day. Mission accomplished.
L’S BITCHIN’ BOURSIN
Garlic (about 5 cloves, minced in food processor)
16 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces salted butter
1/4 cup fresh chives (finely chopped)
Can add other fresh herbs to taste (basil, parsley, thyme, tarragon, etc.)
Whip the butter and cream cheese together with the minced garlic. Fold or pulse in the chives and herbs that you choose to add. (These last ingredients will turn the boursin green if you over-mix.)
This recipe is versatile. For me, I added a bit less garlic and a little less butter. I also added some parsley, basil and dill weed along with the chives. (My grandchildren are not open to a lot of garlic … yet.) It was wonderful. I always make this the night before so the flavors can meld.
Cooking at 43° North, a program of Harpswell Aging at Home, brings Harpswell residents together for cooking programs, in person and online. Watch the Anchor calendar for listings.
HAH always needs cooks for its Meals in a Pinch program, which provides nutritious meals to seniors in need of emergency assistance. For more information, contact Julie Moulton at 207-330-5416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.